By Julio P. Yap Jr.

There are dull or vacant spaces in a garden where mowing the grass can be difficult or even impossible due to the angle of the terrain—just like at the Runnex Elevated Garden of the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

There are also bare and eyesore spots in a garden where nothing seems to grow well. But according to Francis Gener of King Louis Flowers and Plants, aesthetically appealing and easy to grow ground cover can fill up bare or vacant spaces while solving landscaping troubles and eventually minimizing garden maintenance. This is what he did at the Runnex Elevated Garden: covering it with what he calls a “Carpet of Flowers” and transforming the dull space into a rich tapestry of shapes, textures, and attractive colors.

Being an expert landscaper and florist, Gener says that ground cover is a fast and cost-effective way of dealing with difficult, trouble, or dull spots. He says that annual flowering plants are ideal for use in these spaces where good coverage but minimal maintenance is needed.

Francis Gener while applying his magic touch to a colorful Carpet of Flowers at the Runnex Elevated Garden.

Gener pointed out that whatever challenges you may encounter with dull or problematic spots, chances are the remedy is quite simple and universal: you can cover it up inexpensively and quickly with flowering annuals or abundant ground cover. After all, the interest in annual flowers for small space gardening in the city, property development, national parks, and agri-tourism has grown significantly.

And the notion that colorful flowers can only grow in cooler climate areas is not true anymore because Allied Botanical Corporation (ABC) has started to offer heat-tolerant, widely adaptable, and easy-togrow varieties for the Philippines. This is why Gener preferred to use the varieties offered by ABC in his landscape project at the Runnex Elevated Garden.

These days, property buyers are not only looking into the price of a property but also at the aesthetic quality of the project. And in the past two years, there has been an increasing interest in using colorful annual flowering plants for property development.

Among the major uses of annuals is for bedding and ground cover. When planted in mass populations, they can add vibrant color to a landscape. Varieties like the Zinnia Double Profusion Mixed can make for excellent ground cover because Double Profusion comes in seven vivid colors: red, fire, cherry, yellow, deep salmon, white, and golden.

The different varieties of Marigold, on the other hand, can create a warm color as bedding plants. And among the more important plants for a landscape are filler plants and plants that can be used for the background.

The beauty of having annuals in a garden is that flowers are a haven for beneficial insects like bees.

Gener says that gardeners who are looking for easy flowering plants to cultivate can go for the Marigold, Vinca, Zinnia, Cosmos, Pelargonium, or Torenia. Another advantage of having annuals in a garden is that flowers are a haven for beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.

Annual flowers not only bring color to a landscape but also encourage life and a whole new  ecosystem to thrive. There is a ground cover for every soil condition, but one should also test the acidity level of the soil. A gardener may need to improve the soil to raise or lower its pH content, or add organic matter to modify its texture.

And just like any other plant, ground cover also
requires proper fertilization, watering, and weed
control to maintain its attractiveness. Remember
that newly planted areas may need special attention until they are well established.

So if you want to add dimension, perspective, or extra color to your landscape, consider planting heat-tolerant, widely adaptable, and easy-to-grow annuals.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s May 2018 issue.